Streptococcus pyogenes pSM19035 requires dynamic assembly of ATP-bound ParA and ParB on parS DNA during plasmid segregation

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The accurate partitioning of Firmicute plasmid pSM19035 at cell division depends on ATP binding and hydrolysis by homodimeric ATPase δ2 (ParA) and binding of ω2 (ParB) to its cognate parS DNA. The 1.83 Å resolution crystal structure of δ2 in a complex with non-hydrolyzable ATPγS reveals a unique ParA dimer assembly that permits nucleotide exchange without requiring dissociation into monomers. In vitro, δ2 had minimal ATPase activity in the absence of ω2 and parS DNA. However, stoichiometric amounts of ω2 and parS DNA stimulated the δ2 ATPase activity and mediated plasmid pairing, whereas at high (4:1) ω2:δ2 ratios, stimulation of the ATPase activity was reduced and δ2 polymerized onto DNA. Stimulation of the δ2 ATPase activity and its polymerization on DNA required ability of ω2 to bind parS DNA and its N-terminus. In vivo experiments showed that δ2 alone associated with the nucleoid, and in the presence of ω2 and parS DNA, δ2 oscillated between the nucleoid and the cell poles and formed spiral-like structures. Our studies indicate that the molar ω2:δ2 ratio regulates the polymerization properties of (δ•ATP•Mg2+)2 on and depolymerization from parS DNA, thereby controlling the temporal and spatial segregation of pSM19035 before cell division.

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